Sunday, 30 October 2011

Live: Charlie Simpson - Concorde 2 Brighton

It’s been a while since I have felt the need to travel to see a band or artist play, but having missed Charlie’s first tour back in May, it was a definite that I would go wherever necessary to see the dapper young man at his best.
Charlie’s debut album ‘Young Pilgrim’ was released back in August and already is in my top 5 of ‘Best albums of 2011’. On top of that he was playing in one of the best music venues along the South Coast therefore it was a show that just simply couldn’t be missed.

As the 25 year old graced the stage there was a sudden uproar of screaming girls, (probably the only negative of the entire show) and it became clear that Charlie is still as much of a heartthrob as he was 10 years ago when he adorned many a bedroom wall with his fellow Busted members.

Charlie and his band gradually made their way through the tracks that feature on the album, as well as a cover of 80’s hit ‘(I Just) Died In Your Arms’ which seemed to go down a storm with an audience that were fresh out of the 90’s. With each song they played the band as a whole put everything they had into it, one that stood out in particular was ‘Riverbanks’. On record the middle instrumental is already quite powerful, but live, it is a whole new experience. You could see Charlie squeezing out as much energy as possible to intensify the sound, mix that with strobing lights and you’re left standing in awe of what is happening; I could even feel my ears struggling with it all.

Alongside the album tracks, Charlie also treated the crowd to a couple of B-Sides, including ‘Please Let Me Go’ which was performed completely stripped back with only Charlie, his guitar and one band member for harmonies. The performance left an incredible atmosphere, as everyone dealt with the tingles that were sent up their spines.

The show drew to a close, of course an encore was due and Charlie performed two more upbeat tracks so the crowd left on a happier note, however if everyone else felt the way I did afterwards, then Charlie has definitely mastered the art of connecting emotionally with his fans. His vocals could perhaps have been stronger, but after losing his voice just two days prior to the gig it’s a negative that I’m sure won’t apply for the rest of his shows on the tour.

Overall, a great performance from Charlie and his band. Long gone are the days of his spikey hair and poppy chorus’; these have been replaced by designer stubble, waistcoats and a lyrical genius.

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